11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Vegan – 2019 Updated!
“If you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.”
-Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Going vegan is about focusing on something bigger than just yourself.
- Saving The Environment
- Showing Compassion
- Protecting Resources
- Fighting World Hunger
- Choosing To Be A Better Person
- Our Planet
For me and millions around the world, veganism developed from just a change in our diet to a lifestyle.
I love being vegan.
It is possibly the greatest decision I have ever made in my life.
But being vegan doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without mistakes and challenges.
Sometimes veganism is HARD! And sometimes veganism is EASY!
The difficulty of veganism may depend on where you live.
In the end, I’ve learned a lot and grown from it too.
Here are 11 things I wish I knew before switching to veganism.
You Will Have Some Cravings For Meat
I know… meat is disgusting and cruel.
It’s a horrible industry that hopefully one day will be eliminated from our planet.
But regardless, being a vegan, there may be some times when you miss the taste of certain meat.
It’s not very often (very rare actually), but for me, it’s chicken wings.
I would love to eat some buffalo chicken wings that I used to have as bar food. It was something about the buffalo sauce, texture, and dipping it all in blue cheese that I miss.
Now there are delicious vegan wings out there. Some that taste almost like the real deal!
Fruffalo Wings which can be purchased at Whole Foods are crunchy and taste fantastic!
But at the same time, it still doesn’t have that same texture as real wings.
At the same time, mock/substitute meat is still in the very early stages of development. It’s only been a few years since mock meat has hit grocery stores around the nation.
Expect to see even more improvements in mock meat in the next coming years.
You Might Accidentally Eat Meat Or Dairy
This happens more often than you think.
Just a normal trip out to the grocery store.
You end up purchasing something that sounds totally vegan!
When you get home and take a bite you marvel at how tasty (or bad) the food is.
Then you look at the ingredients label…
You come to find out that the product you just chewed and swallowed is not vegan!
You start to feel upset.
Maybe you’re disappointed in yourself because you know you should have checked the ingredients label before throwing the item in your shopping cart.
But this doesn’t just happen when shopping for groceries. It’ll happen when you go out to restaurants as well!
An unsuspecting salad bowl will have cheese!
That ‘vegan sandwich’ you ordered was cooked in animal grease!
That jolly rancher you just ate is full of gelatin!
Does this mean you’re not vegan anymore!?!?
Of course not.
Look, we all make mistakes… we’re human.
Whether accidental or not, this is not a perfect world. Most of the food and restaurants out there are NOT vegan.
I’ve order food requesting “without chicken” at a restaurant and when the meal came, you guessed it, still had chicken.
People Will Criticize And Joke About You
Let’s face it, being vegan means you’re in the minority.
Only about 1-2% of the U.S. population is vegan, meaning the other 95%+ is compiled of meat-eaters, many of which will criticize you for your decision to go plant-based.
People, especially on the internet, are mean.
They will mock you, laugh at you, make jokes about killing animals, tell you how meat is the greatest thing and the world, and so forth.
Now, not everyone is like this. A lot of people will respect your decision and applaud you for going vegan. Quite a few meat-eaters know about veganism and are actually educated!
But another great deal of people will criticize you and attack you.
Your job is to…
Who cares what another person says about you and your life decisions?
It’s your life and nobody else’s.
The fact that you chose to not eat meat, save an animal’s life and help save our planet is awesome!
If those negative and nihilistic internet trolls choose to make fun of you for it, it’s their loss, not yours.
People will hate on you no matter your decision, so do what you want with your life and move on.
People Will Ask You Questions
With all the critics out there, quite a few will ask you questions about your lifestyle and diet choices.
All vegans have been on the receiving end of questioning. Some non-vegans instantly think that a 100% plant-based diet is unsustainable.
Here are the top 3 questions I always get when I tell someone I’m vegan.
“How long have you been vegan for?”
“Where do you get your protein?”
“So you don’t eat cheese of fish?”
The first question, about how long I’ve been vegan, I don’t mind answering. If anything, most people seem interested to see how long I’ve sustained the diet.
I also like this question because most individuals who ask me this question are usually shocked at the fact I’m vegan, especially since my look and body breaks the stereotype.
A common stereotype is that vegans are skinny, tattooed, and offended by everything.
I’m 6 feet 1 inches tall, a lean 200 pounds, have no tattoos, and hardly anything offends me… *Laughs out loud
The second question regarding where I get my protein from is just an eye-roller for me.
There are hundreds of plant-based protein sources.
Vegan don’t eat grass and leaves. There are a million whole based foods like tofu, seitan, spinach, beans, grains, seeds, nuts, and more that contain plenty of protein.
If only people knew. *sigh
The last question is possibly the most ignorant and annoying. “You don’t eat cheese or fish?”
No… being vegan means I only eat plants and plant-based foods?
Does cheese come from plants?
There are cashew-based vegan cheeses that are delicious, but most people questioning me are wondering if I eat cheese that comes from a cow…
And really… Do they have to ask about fish?! How silly of a question is that!?
Fish is an animal! That is a meat-based food!
Unfortunately, every vegan has had to deal with some kind of silly question or interrogation regarding diet.
Which in reality is quite sad, because it shows how many people are uneducated on the subject.
I’m positive that if many non-vegans were more educated on this subject, we would have a lot more vegans.
At the beginning, it might be discouraging to tell people you’re vegan, for the sole reason of other people’s opinions and questions.
That’s ok. Every vegan’s gone through it.
But through it all, you’ll learn to take it as a positive and educate others!
Some Vegan Products Do Suck
There’s no hiding this one.
A lot of meat-eaters will make vegan food out to suck, which is far from the truth.
There is a ton of plant-based food and products that are delicious, filled with flavor, and healthy for you too!
But there are also very cruddy and bland tasting vegan products out there that taste horrible.
I can say some black bean veggie burgers are dry and taste like you’re eating dirt.
Daiya cheese tastes like rubber.
Some packaged seitan tastes like chewy, old, and wet meat.
Now, do all vegan-based products suck, just because a few aren’t that tasty?
For every shitty tasting food, there’s another tasty one out there. You just have to learn which ones are good, that’s all!
Going Vegan Overnight Is Not Possible
I have yet to find someone who has gone vegan in one day.
That means one day they woke up eating meat and the next day they went 100% plant-based for life.
It’s not as easy as it seems.
Even for me, I found it to be much easier to transition the way I ate over a period of time.
First I started by eliminating meat on some days of the week.
This can be known as a ‘flexitarian.’
Then I was able to eliminate meat completely. I still found myself eating cheese and stuff that had a ton of cream in it.
From that point on, it took me a couple of months before I completely eliminated dairy products altogether and was 100% vegan.
Why is it better this way?
When you go your whole life eating one way, it’s much easier to transition to new foods/lifestyle, rather than jump ship all at once. If you try transitioning overnight you’ll probably just end up going back to your old diet.
But if you’re able to conquer this feat, all the more power to you!
Vegan Doesn’t Equal Health
Another big misconception…
Just because something is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
You can eat highly processed vegan popcorn, mock meats, candy, and other crap.
There are plenty of vegan junk food options that are loaded with salt and sugar. And you have to be careful, if you eat too much you can compromise your health.
“Don’t worry, it’s vegan” is not an excuse to eat like crap.
I do enjoy mock meats such as the Beyond Burger, Impossible Burger, Fruffalo Wings, and more! But I’ve learned to eat them only once in a while as cheat meals. Just because these mock meats are vegan, doesn’t mean they don’t contain a ton of salt and processed ingredients.
I always recommend eating a whole foods plant-based diet. That means sticking to REAL foods that are straight from the earth like:
- Leafy Greens and Vegetables
- Nuts and Seeds
- Plant-Based Milks
- Fruits and Berries
Consuming these will benefit your health and happiness! So stick to real foods and avoid all the other crap!
Veganism Is Not A Trend Or Fad
I see a lot of celebrities go vegan for what seems like a month or two, only to see them at a steakhouse or posting a video of them making eating meat on Instagram…
You’re not vegan if that’s the case.
And veganism is not a trend.
Let me say it for the people in the back…
Veganism is a lifestyle!
Don’t become vegan because you think it’s cool or hip! Do it for the intrinsic values. Do it for the animals, for your health, and the environment.
Don’t do it because you think it’ll put your name in the headlines or because you think it looks cool.
That defeats the whole purpose!
It’s not something you can just switch on and off. If that’s the case, then you’re a flexitarian, not a vegan.
You’ll Get Frustrated At Most Restaurants
Friends asked you to join for dinner?
Oh no… where are they going?
“I hope there’s something vegan on the menu” is something I would always tell myself.
If you’re vegan, you know the struggle already. Most restaurants menus offer 98% meat-based dishes. The other 2% is usually vegetarian.
You’ll be lucky if you find something entirely vegan, although a lot of restaurants are starting to incorporate more plant-based options.
There have been numerous times when I’ve gone out to eat with friends and I was left to eat French fries and a salad. That’s not a meal, that’s two sides…
This a reality for far too many vegans.
It’s sad because there have been times when I skipped out on dinner because I couldn’t eat a restaurant. If it’s a new restaurant, I have to look up the menu online and verify if there’s something for me to eat.
When in doubt, always offer to eat at a Chinese or Asian restaurant. There are always vegan options like vegetable dumplings, gyoza, avocado rolls, tofu dishes, noodles, and more.
Veganism Is Not As Expensive, But It Very Well Can Be
If done correctly, veganism is cheap.
You can buy whole based foods for cheap!
- Dried Beans
- Frozen Fruits
- Bulk Vegetables
- Blocks of Tofu
- Bulk Nuts and Seeds
All of these items can be purchased at grocery stores and supermarkets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
Not only are they cheap, but they’re also the healthiest for you!
It’s prepared and packaged foods that are going to cost you.
A package of tofu burritos?
Frozen vegan pizzas?
Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy?
As soon as you start throwing those in your shopping cart, you’re going to start racking up a larger bill.
It’s also best to avoid brands IF possible. Once a brand or name is attached to a food or product, the price will generally shoot up.
Moral of the story: Food products are expensive, real food is where it’s at!
It’s A Lifelong Commitment
This is a good thing!
Commitment isn’t even the correct word. Relationship is more like it!
When you go vegan, it’s for life.
Most people who chose veganism only wish they changed over sooner.
Because it’s incredible for all aspects of life.
Now, there are vegans who switch back to eating meat, but most were probably not doing it correctly or psyched themselves out in thinking it was too difficult (it really isn’t).
There’s no way I could ever see myself going back to eating meat, and I know millions of other vegans think the same.
Vegan for life baby!